This morning I imagined what the 80 year old version of myself would tell me, if I asked her, “What do I do now?” “What should I focus on?”
What wisdom would she have, nearing the end of her life? What would she have focused on today?
She’d tell me to bike more, write more, film everything. Tell everyone I love how much I love them. Hug more, kiss more. Squeeze them tight. Use my creativity to connect with those I love and those I will love in the future. Arms and heart wide open, she would tell me to vulnerably step into the world and be me.
She’d tell me to fuck fear. Let go of the negative thoughts. Skin the skeptic. Look for the beauty in all. There are so many good people to love, sweet creatures to care for and wonderous places to inspire. Find them. Get out today and connect on purpose. Smile, it’s a great heart opener. It’s your super power. Laugh. Enjoy life to the fullest each moment. Find your tribe. Seek out those who inspire you and meet them with open arms. Exercise. Move your body. Play outdoors.
Seek what you want to find. Chase what makes your heart beat. What makes your heart pound out loud. Friends, food, books, music, work. Go out there and get it all.
Be thoughtful and intentional about everything you do. Your writing, your film, your drawing. Do it on purpose and with a purpose.
Think first, but don’t regret anything. Try not to hurt anyone, including yourself. No time for that. Problems will come and go. It always works out in the end. Stop getting so angry and frustrated. Sail through the storms. There is no time to waste.
Life is a banquet. There is so much to choose from. Taste it all.
Visit friends, follow the inspiring, touch and taste everything that draws you in – that pulls you closer. Feed your curiosity.
Let go of control. Just love.
Four weeks into The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity and I am drowning deep in dark emotional pain. Ugggghhhhh, I have protected myself from this real work for way too long. I knew it would be hard, I have avoided facing the truth about what I really fear for a very long time. Looking for short cuts, life hacks. . .rushing through self-repair is never really possible. And damn it, I knew that.
I raise my face to the sky, my mouth wide open, gasping for air. It feels like I am flailing about in the dark, deep cold water, like a helpless, frightened child that has yet learned how to swim confidently through life, exposed to the unwelcome and unknown that I have hidden from myself and the world around me. I do all I can do to avoid facing what is real, my own dark unknown vulnerable mind.
I don’t want to to do this real work. I don’t want to know that I am broken. I don’t care to admit that I am confused, anxious, uncertain, vulnerable, frightened and angry. That’s not who I want to represent me. I want to skip past these ugly emotions. Run from them, crucify them. So what do I do? I strive too hard to heal. I don’t want to do the real digging, fear-facing work. I don’t want dig too deep into my truth to find a fearful young child who must let got and feel all of these unwanted emotions.
Who the hell wants to do that? Yet, I am inspired by the possibilities, by the words of Albert Camus
“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger — something better, pushing right back.”
It’s not easy being real with myself. It doesn’t feel good to actually observe the thoughts that ruin my plans each day. To actually accept how much pain I feel and inflict on myself each morning, as I awake with feelings of lack, insecurity and an incredibly raw feeling of being very, very lost and uncertain about where my life is going. It hurts me and in turn, it hurts others. Some how, some way, I must bring these feelings along for the ride, learning to befriend the parts of me that I find undesirable.
The key to reaching our potential while feeling less shut off and shut down is linked to the ability to be able to see clearly who we are and what we’re doing. Going even beyond that, to the why we do what we do. What triggers our emotions and actions. What pain is behind the purpose.
It could possibly begin with opening up to the Five hard truths you need to accept about yourself.
Our inner critics negatively control the outcomes of our decisions. Our critical and suspicious thoughts place a black cloud and huge road blocks before our well-intentioned plans. We ruin the day before it begins when we don’t become honest with how we really feel and who we really think we are.
Underwater photography by Harry Fayt.
Repeating this mantra softly to myself has helped me sail through the hours of overwhelming tasks in a day. It has stopped me from rushing and I hate rushing. Rushing just sucks. It makes life feel hasty. I want to savor life. Even the boring parts.
This idiom also applies to anything you do. It has helped me improve my days.
When properly learning something new
Any new skill that you are trying to learn should first be practiced slowly.
Performing any action too fast will have you sacrificing technique which will in turn slow your development. It will also limit the greatness you could have achieved.
I wonder why you do what you do. What drives you through your day?
Why I do what I do.
Why do I desire deeper connections with people I love and admire? Because life would seem vacuous with anything less.
It is important for me to feel connected, relevant, needed and valuable.
Why am I driven to understand where the world is headed? Because standing in the dark seems like such a frightening place to hide.
It seems to me that learning, knowing and growing gives me a feeling of security. It frees up my time to focus on my why(s).
Why do I attempt to live a life of daily adventure, filled with no regrets? Because it feels like something that would be great to bring to the grave. I don’t want to waste this precious gift.
Knowing the truth about everything around me brings clarity and an easier way to navigate through the twisted turns.
Focusing on what is most important and essential to being human feels like a good way to grow. It’s enlightening.
Living to my full potential and co-creating with the universe and God together as one, seems like a way to live a life filled with higher purpose.
Continuously watch your state of mind for the quality of your thoughts are everything.
- It doesn’t get any easier, you just get better.
- You can’t just change your attitude, you need to also change your behavior.
- “Inconsistency of the mind does not suit a wise being.” – Seneca
- Hurt people hurt. More often than not, it’s not about you at all.
- Youth is not an age, Youth = Freedom. It is emancipation from boredom and prescription.
- Clarity is key. Clearly define what you want and need. Clarity comes from mindfulness.
- Practice makes permanent. If you want to improve, you must commit to full-on daily and deliberate practice.
- Strive to become the best and most useful version of you that you can possibly be.
- Lighten up, spark joy and create love. Repeat.
- Continue to weed the garden of your mind of negative thoughts.
- Reframe your problems. Ask better questions.
- Both poverty and wealth are the offspring of thought.
- We grow because of disruption.
- We are in conflict when we are not living out our values.
- Life is an immense privilege and never to be taken for granted.
- Practice compassionate, loving kindness with all.
- Suffering shakes us out of complacency and motivates us to look for a happiness not dependent on circumstances.
- Be on the lookout for quick flashes of inspiration.
- Remain humble but have enormous faith in yourself.
- Be deeply grateful for everything you have.
- Succeeding is a byproduct of full on effort.
- See the problem for what it is, not bigger than it is.
- Remember that what you do speaks so loudly that people cannot hear what you say. -Emerson
- You are not in this alone, you are co-creating everything with the universe.
- A good plan will give concrete form to your desire.
- Follow the leaders you love. Learn by copying those you admire.
- Move from careless to thoughtful; from inattentive to pondered; from unintentional to purposeful.
- Still, deep breaths clear and calm the mind.
- Stop the automated negative thoughts.
- Quit talking about your problems and start thinking about your solutions.
- Commit to give the best quantity and quality of service that you can possibly give.
- Nourish yourself daily. Nourish and feed yourself with the proper rest, food, people and thoughts.
- Be relentless, persistent and positive. Always.
- Beware of your emotional guidance system. What emotions are driving you? Fear? Joy? Rage? Love?
- Be truthful with yourself. Do not be self-deceptive.
- Be real about your weaknesses. Consider how you may improve your personality.
- Fear of poverty, criticism, ill-health, loss of someone or something, old age and death are at the bottom of most worries.
- Watch what you tolerate.
- Stop spending without thinking.
- The worst parts of us are the doorways to our most authentic selves.
- Begin with a beginner’s mind, know what you want and shake the earth to get it.
- Something good is going to happen today.
- You are responsible for your life. No one else is in charge, but you.
- “For the love of bustle is not industry, it is only the restlessness of a hunted mind.” – Seneca
- Scratch your own itch. Design and build things that you want and need.
- Shield yourself from the negativity of others.
- Raise your own standards of who you should be. Rise to the occasion.
- There is no need to hold on to old beliefs. Re-examine your life, your values and your goals.
- Consider the every day heroes in your life.
- Do not let your thoughts make you weak and worried. Develop strong and healthy thoughts.
- Practice radical acceptance of the world and strive for gradual improvement daily.
- Do not underestimate the power of the pause. Practice silent meditation for ten minutes a day.
- Better to respond than to react. Always chose the most empowering response.
- Unprocessed pain is a dangerous condition.
- Let go of ideas that don’t resonate with you and your limiting beliefs about yourself.
- Regardless of how modern we seem, we still remain ancient.
- There is nothing good except that which is honorable.Seneca
- Don’t marinate in the culture of speed. Skip the fast life, savor the good life.
- Hope is not a strategy, fear is not an option, luck is not a factor.
- Let go of your judgement and open your heart.
- It’s not failure. It’s a key moment in your development.
- Practice pattern interrupts. Beware of running but never arriving; ruminating but never thinking; hearing but never listening; striving but never reaching.
- If you knock on the door of opportunity, you will find it is work who answers.
- Listen and consider, “What is really asking for your attention right now?”
- Get in the habit of asking “What is the best that can come from this situation?”
- Be motivated by kindness.
- When you are overwhelmed, remember to trust the process and do what is important right now.
- Each second of life is a miracle. Thich Nhat Hanh
- No longer lost in thought, you are no longer a creature of mindless habits.
- Develop a posture that is both alert and at ease.
- Nurture a mind that is without hostility or ill will.
- Say no with a smile.
- We have a choice, step forward into growth or back into safety.
- Try to handle the tough times with more grace.
- “The wise person does nothing reluctantly.” -Seneca
- Question – “Are you committed to making everything in your life hard?”
- Precrastination – doing things today that don’t need to get done.
- Desire is not the issue, attachment is.
- When you score a big hit, don’t wish it was a home run.
- Our bodies will tell us if we are truly happy. It’s when every part of your body feels like its smiling.
- Truly happy feels expansive, relaxed, calm, content, peaceful and open-hearted.
- Drugs, cigarettes, binge eating and alcohol are shortcuts to happiness.
- Resilience = bouncing back from a difficult time.
- Our hearts are meant to become an endless sea of compassion.
- Seek the valuable gifts hidden in your problems.
- Don’t let fear keep you inside your comfort zone.
- Nothing is ever as good as it seems or as bad as it seems.
- Mastery takes a minimum of 10,000 hours, 3,333 days or 9.13 years. That’s four hours of dedicated practice a day.
- It is not the one that has too little but the one who craves more who is poor. Seneca
- We must control our perception. Consider what is happening and then how you perceive it. Is it bad? Is it an opportunity?
- Appropriate action takes place when you do what needs to get done when it needs to get done.
- Less show, more soul.
- Take your finger off the panic button.
- Consume less, create more.
- Almost everything is a blessing in disguise.
- Start small. Overwhelming yourself with huge goals only sets you up for failure.
- Replace your vision board with a calendar.
- Try shit. Be an experimenter in the lab of life.
- Don’t believe everything you think.
- Get so good they can’t ignore you. Cal Newport.
- Be worthy. Discover how you can you create extraordinary value and serve as profoundly as you can.
- Make self care your #1 habit. It is non-negotiable.
- Deal with your emotions. R.A.I.N = Recognize, Accept and Allow, Investigate with Interest and Nurture yourself. Tara Brach
- Beware of group think and the delusion of the masses.
- Your ego is deceiving you.
- Past performance does not guarantee future results.
- Review and resolve your inner conflicts.
- Never underestimate the importance of abandoning crap you don’t need.
- Develop a life long commitment to learning.
- Always helpful, never harmful.
- Get the best tools.
- Stop spending time with the wrong people.
- Stop running from your problems.
- Stop lying to yourself.
- Stop trying to be someone you are not.
- Let go of the past.
- Worry will not strip tomorrow of it’s burdens, it will only strip today of it’s joy.
- Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen.
- What do people thank you for? Do more of that.
- Vulnerability equals courage.
- Everything is impermanent.
- Give up some control. Don’t always fall prey to action bias. Let some things unfold.
- Practice some form of daily movement and meditation.
- If you don’t start, it doesn’t happen.
- The improved mind is at peace with itself.
- Be more selective. Deliberately say no.
- Don’t mistake absence of evidence for evidence of absence.*
- Almost everything is non-essential.
- Reflect on what is draining your time during the day.
- Expect the unexpected.
- Be aware of how you spend your time. Chronos, quality of time vs Kairos, quantity of time.
I am curious, what lessons have resonated with you? Anything to add to the list?
*Simply put, it means that if we don’t know that something exists, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t; it only means we don’t know one way or the other, we just haven’t been made aware of it yet so it’s not part of our knowledge.
Inspired by the following books –
The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson (Modern Library Classics)
1. Understanding Certainty vs Accuracy
The Quest: How to know the truth.
Understanding that just because someone appears confident in what they are telling you, meaning they seem to be 100% certain about their story, doesn’t mean that the story is 100% accurate. Be careful and cautious about believing what you hear, read and watch. “Certainty” does not always equal accuracy. Stay cautiously skeptical.
2. Awareness of The Likability Bias
The Quest: How to remain aware of our behavior.
It’s such a simple concept to understand, yet we continually fall prey to it when we really don’t have to – and great sales people know how to use it. The liking bias knows that the more we like someone the more we are likely to buy something from them or help them in some way. Be weary of people throwing you compliments, those who are friendly too fast. This can have you purchasing things you don’t really need and over extending yourself to do something you really don’t have time to do.
3. Asking Bigger, Better Questions
The Quest: How to have better outcomes.
I have to admit I struggled with this one for a while, but I think I finally got it down and I will start with an example. I can ask myself “What do I need to do today?” or I could start with a better question “What should I do today to make it a more productive day?”
I can also get more detailed with each question. For example, instead of asking “Where can I learn editing techniques for my videos?” I can ask “What three editing techniques do I want to learn to make awesome videos?”
I’d love to hear what you have learned or what you find useful in your life. Please share in the comments below.
My husband drives me crazy. He never writes anything down. Not a single reminder. Not even a note in his phone. He laughs at all my list making. So what.
The Secret to Achieving Your Goals
Now, I imagine if you are reading this, the headline got you and you are looking to achieve something great. Weight loss? More money? Better relationships? Peace of mind? Whatever you are attempting to get better at, it helps to set goals. Here is the formula I found works for anything I want to achieve and it is a mash up of some of the best advice and tips from experts throughout history on how to go about setting and achieving goals.
Scientific behavioral studies at Harvard have proven that those who WRITE down their SPECIFIC and ACHIEVABLE goals increase their chances 10 fold. I add that WRITING and SPEAKING your goals OUT LOUD with emotion each day in the morning (and maybe in the evening too) increases your success even further.
It’s simple, it’s easy and here is how it works.
STEP 1. SET PRECISE and MEASURABLE goals that you are CONFIDENT that you can achieve.
For example: I want to lose five (5) pounds by Thanksgiving, November 25, 2015.
I found this free Body Weight Planner recommended by Shape Magazine and developed by the National Institute for Health with the help of Dr. Kevin Hall’s research group for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to better understand how diet and exercise quantitatively contribute to weight loss and weight loss maintenance.
According to this calculator, I’ll achieve this measurable goal if I walk/hike and run at a moderate jogging pace for 60 minutes a day seven (7) days a week consuming no more than 1,955 calories a day. I calculate this is a loss of .75 (3/4) of a pound a week.
STEP 2.WRITE them down on paper (or in your phone) and keep them in CLEAR site. READ the goal OUT LOUD each morning.
Me in the mirror every morning:
I will be 123 pounds by Thanksgiving in 48 days by following these easy steps to achieve this weight. I will practice self-discipline and design my days around achieving this goal. Relentlessly.
STEP 3.BREAK down the goal and REMOVE all obstacles involved in the process of achieving it.
Each Bite Counts
Each day, I commit to counting calories – the LoseIt App is wonderful for this, as is the FitBit calorie tracker. You can also use a note book. Here are 5 great calorie counting sites/apps that you might want to try. I will jot down what I ate or take a photo of what I ate to calculate my calorie intake every day.
What if it’s raining?
How will I make SURE that I get in a 60 minute moderate run/hike each day? What if it rains and I can’t go outside? Will I go to the gym? Do I have a way of doing this at home in the house? Will I ask a friend to hold me accountable? Will I get it out of the way every morning? What if I am traveling?
Have a PLAN to REMOVE every obstacle.
No more chips. Damn.
I eliminate all refined carbohydrates from my daily meals. No breads, crackers, chips, cookies, etc. I will try to each a very healthy, plant-based meal with protein three (3) times a day and limit by alcohol to 1 glass of white wine. I will consume no more than 1,955 calories a day.
STEP 4.READ your goal OUT LOUD every morning and include HOW you will FEEL when you achieve your GOAL.
Me, in my head all day long:
I will look and feel amazing in my jeans, feel lighter on my feet and freer and more energetic. All that movement will also help me feel less anxious and healthier at 123 lbs.
You can do this four step process with anything you want to achieve, including making new friends, getting a raise, building a business, whatever. The secret is a mindful attention with intention and focus on your goal.
Visit Jason’s website here
This gem of a book by Napoleon Hill Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller – Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century
And the book that inspired me to lose 25 lbs last year.